There are so many books, articles and white papers all looking at the world of having a life in Balance is this the ultimate question about life in general or is it simply a question of finding some sort of happiness and contentment? Too much noise going on so many of just say “I think I’ll just avoid this whole topic and leave to somebody else who gives a…”
Is this already starting to feel really heavy, well that is all down to interpretation and the lens through which you are reading. There are clients of mine who I know categorically really really struggle with understanding what balance means for them – the burden (their words not mine) of responsibility to everybody else prevents them from finding a clear balance that works for them. By contrast we all know people who just appear to float along on a wave or cloud of eternal Zen and nothing seems to knock them off course and all the crap in life appears to divert around them?! You know the ones!
There are multiple descriptions of what goes into having a life in balance
- Is it just the straight forward two zones – work and family?
- What about the old Mars bar advert – work rest and play?
- But that’s not detailed enough what about the four zones – Work, Family, Self and friends
- Still seem a little light on detail how about – Physical, social, professional, pleasurable, spiritual, emotional, mental and material / financial
- Or the Wheel of Life Balance as some will call it – career, physical environment, personal and spiritual growth, family friends and community, partner / romance, health self care, social / fun, finances / material
None of these are wrong and none of these are more right than the other – the challenge for all of us is down to the lens through which we are reading and interpreting what matters to us at any given point in time.
For me the simplest approach is a focus in on three core elements that can all be drilled into further according to the individual at any one time – Healthy, Wealthy and Wise. I have written previously on this topic here http://www.mikepagan.com/healthy-wealthy-wise-hww
Healthy – Are you doing right by yourself? We will get ill, have challenges, injuries and diseases, the question is are you doing right by yourself to have the sort of life you wish – eat right, play right, weight balance, mental focus etc – there is always someone in a far worse predicament than you just around the corner – are you taking steps and asking for help to look after your health and mental wellbeing?
Wealthy – financial wealth is one very small definition of wealth, materialism and greed have always caused negative situations and outcomes through jealousy, manipulation and corruption to name just a few. There will always be others out there where despite their incompetence, poor social skills and general unpleasantness appear to still be successful and have it all, or just more than you – by contrast who would gladly swap places with you, who would gladly have what you have.
Wise – Wisdom comes with age and experience, knowing how to deal with the good times and prepare for the lean times and rebooting and recovering when it all comes crashing down. The phrase we don’t stop learning until the day they put us in a box is so true, so what are you learning, what are you developing, what are you giving back?
As life has become faster, we travel greater distance to work and play, we in general have become far more selfish and less aware losing the focus on what is going on 1/2 a mile from our front door within in our own communities. Volunteering isn’t for everyone I know that, but helping others, giving of our time without expectation of reward or payment changes the thinking. Clearly not to the point of begrudging that time or costing us dearly, but that world of balance where time is our most precious asset and wasting it is just not an option, the mental rewards associated with the helping of others pays back tenfold! So many religions preach and share the teachings of looking after those less fortunate than ourselves, sadly for many of us we say we are just a bit too busy and have stopped doing it?
Life Balance will change for each one of us every day of every week of every year – the goal is to understand what balance means to us and how we can work with others to help each other achieve balance. There is no right or wrong answer here, it is unique to each other, choose a formulae or model that resonates with you, spend some time understanding where the gaps are and what you can do to help fill them. Where is your balance – ask for help!